Each year in late July the eyes of the baseball world are focused on the small hamlet of Cooperstown, New York for the induction of the latest class of inductees to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year the ceremonies will be held the weekend of July 28-31th and the newest inductees are Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, John Schuerholz, and Bud Selig.
While the induction weekend is definitely the highlight of the year at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF), it is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. More than 300,000 people visit the HOF each year, both to celebrate and to learn more about the history of baseball. Its address actually says it all... 25 Main Street... the Main Street of Baseball.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1939 and has inducted 317 players, coaches, managers, umpires, front office personnel, owners, sportswriters, and broadcasters into its membership. The Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery is located on the first floor of the Hall of Fame Building. Also found on this floor are the Art of Baseball Exhibit, an exhibit on how Hollywood has pictured baseball and a salute to baseball's elite broadcasters and sportswriters.
The second and third floors of the building are devoted to a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibits. The second floor exhibits include a history of the Hall of Fame, a baseball timeline, an entire section saluting Babe Ruth, Diamond Queens: Women in Baseball, salutes to both African-American and Latin American players for their contributions to baseball, and Diamond Minds: Baseball's Best Scouts.
The third floor features three exhibits: Sacred Grounds: Ballparks of Baseball, Henry Aaron: Chasing the Dream, and One for the Books: A Photographic and Video Retrospective of the Game's Greatest Plays.
The town of Cooperstown is well worth a visit in its own right. There are numerous baseball themed businesses and restaurants lining Main Street. These include the Cooperstown Bat Company, the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, a baseball-themed brewery, and Doubleday Field, the home of the annual Hall of Fame Classic baseball game on Memorial Day weekend.
Visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a bucket list item for any true baseball fan. Here is a short video by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to prepare you for your visit: